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Anime 101: Breaking Down the Hottest Pop Culture Medium

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John Leonhardt, head, consumer products, Crunchyroll, discussed anime’s meteoric rise in pop culture in the latest Festival of Licensing keynote.

Day two of Festival of Licensing – Americas Week kicked off with a conversation all about anime.

John Leonhardt, head, consumer products, Crunchyroll, discussed anime’s meteoric rise in pop culture with Amanda Cioletti, event and content director, Global Licensing Group. Leonhardt highlighted how the category has grown from “niche” to mainstream. He detailed how anime properties continue to explode in territories globally, with business moves like Viz Media in Europe merging with Crunchyroll as a result.

Crunchyroll is exhibiting at Festival of Licensing, a month-long large-scale digital gathering that unites the global licensing industry to connect, learn, strike deals and do business on an international stage. The event takes place Oct. 6-29. Register for free now!

“Anime is not niche,” says Leonhardt. “It’s growing in popularity. We’re seeing celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion, John Boyega and Billie Eilish that are really into anime. Anime has so many different aspects that people can grab on to. In today’s world where people can narrow cast, they can pick what they want to look at, anime doesn’t have to be super mass market to be successful and popular. It’s just a fantastic medium and the fan base is so passionate.”

As anime continues to blow up across the globe, Leonhardt and Cioletti used the keynote to discuss anime’s foray into licensed merchandise, its dedicated fan base, its most popular product categories and more. Though the category was seen as niche, there was always a fanbase for the content globally and streaming companies like Crunchyroll have helped to supply that demand.

“Crunchyroll was born to solve a problem and deliver anime to fans,” says Leonhardt. “We’ve always been fan oriented. It’s our focus.”

To learn more about Crunchyroll and the future of anime in the Americas, check out the keynote presentation here.

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